Maintaining credibility when one’s practice or industry is under fire as described in our article last week, is much more difficult than simple mistakes. Based on our work with clients, we have a few tips:

DO:

  • Learn what you can about what happened from reliable sources. Stick to the facts.
  • Acknowledge to your team what errors you know to be true. Decide upon how to present the facts as you know them.
  • Openly acknowledge the causes of errors and develop a plan for addressing them if they are in your area.
  • Express concern for how employees and patients must feel.
  • Focus on remaining consistent with the values and actions that have generated trust in the past. Be realistic.
  • Get feedback from others about how your practice and you are perceived.

DON’T:

  • Guess or speculate about a situation. It may fuel rumors and fear.
  • Wait to address misinformation.
  • Ignore how others may be feeling.
  • Believe that you don’t need to spend time on a problem because the root cause is beyond your control.

Obviously, routinely building one’s accounts provides more credibility over time than practicing these actions only when there is a crisis. Credibility is a highly valued currency and a particularly important skill for leaders to have in today’s complex business environment. It is a skill that can be learned and honed and can serve organizations through good times and bad.